Playboy's new list of America's Top Ten Bartenders includes Murray Stenson, or Mur the Blur to those of us who've seen him in action at the ZigZag Cafe below Pike Place Market or, for years earlier, at Il Bistro in the Market. Joined with a photo by Seattle cameraman Dan Crawford, Playboy's write-up says:
Inspired by a vintage cocktail book from the 1950s, ZigZag Cafe senior bartender Murray Stenson resurrected a classic cocktail known as the last word (made with gin, green Chartreuse, maraschino liqueur and lime juice), tested it on some customers and realized he'd discovered a goldmine of a great drink. Mixologists from as far as New York and London subsequently added it to their cocktail lists -- flattery, not theft, according to Stenson -- and his career has continued to soar. The man isn't exactly new to the business; he's been tending bar for 30 years and worked for 12 years at Il Bistro, the premier bar of the 1990s Seattle scene. On any given day, he offers up some 18 cocktails, many of them changing seasonally. The latest obsession, tequila, led him to develop the elegantly named "orange tequila thing" (silver tequila and Cointreau in a glass with a cinnamon-edged rim).
It's a proud moment for many of us. We can now say we've gotten 86'd by one of America's best.